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Frightening Friday: Attend Boo Camp at Universal Studios Florida ...

Frightening Friday: Attend Boo Camp at Universal Studios Florida ...

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Did you ever wonder what it might be like to be one of those scare-actors at Universal Studios Florida? You know, one of those guys who comes lurching out of the shadows on Halloween Horror Nights and then frightens some poor unsuspecting tourist?

Well, this past week, the nice folks who work in Public Relations at the Universal Orlando Resort invited JHM to come take part in a Media Boo Camp. To be specific, they were looking for reporters who’d be willing to become scare-actors for just one night and then write about what that experience was like for the Net.

And since Mr. Hill was back up in New Hampshire when this unusual invitation arrived, it was up to myself and Denise Preskitt of MouseSteps to cover this event for JHM.

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Studios
Photo by Jeff Lange

So last Friday night, Denise and I made our way through Universal CityWalk. Where – just outside of the Blue Man Group theater – we were met by a rep from Public Relations. Who then led us backstage to this temporary staging area that had been set up right next to one of the soundstages.

Here (because she lost the toss) Denise climbed up into a make-up chair and began her transformation. Ms. Preskitt was supposed to be playing one of the scientists who’d been exposed to this experimental bio-nerve gas that had been accidentally released in USF’s “Containment” scare zone. And since this nerve agent is supposed to turn everyone who came in contact with it into a “ … melting glob of flesh and blood” … Well, that’s why one of Universal’s talented make-up artist began gluing plastic pustules to Denise’s face.

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Studios Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

From there, Ms. Preskitt moved to the airbrush station. Where the technician working there made the faux sores on Denise’s face look as realistic – and disgusting – as possible.

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Studios Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

After that, Ms. Preskitt was handed off to Wardrobe. Who made sure that Denise was dressed as fashionably as any good scientist would be before they then found themselves dealing with a toxic gas leak.

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Studios Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

From there, Ms. Preskitt joined all of the other reporters who’d signed up to be part of last Friday night’s Media Boo Camp. They received some last minute instructions about how to deal with the Guests who were at Universal Studios Florida that night (EX: Anyone walking straight through this Halloween Horror Nights scare zone was considered fair game for frightening. However, any USF visitors who up on the sidewalks to either side of “Containment” were off limits. You see, if the Guests stood or walked there, that meant that they were in the safe zone and you weren't allowed to pursue them then) …

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Studios Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

… and then it was time to hit the streets. Wander up and down Production Central (i.e. that area at Universal Studios Florida between Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast and Shrek 4-D) and moan about the horrible industrial accident they’d just been involved in.

In talking with Ms. Preskitt about her experience as a scare-actor, she said that there was really no wrong way to deal with all the people who were in the Park for Halloween Horror Nights. Some Guests obviously wanted you to jump out and frighten them ...

Monster Boo Camp Universal Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

... While still other USF visitors … Well, to be honest, all it took to scare these folks was just stand quietly in the street. Let them discover you all by themselves as they walked up through the smoke and the shadows.

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Studios Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

And then it was over. With a shout of “We’ve found a cure,” all the reporters taking part in last Friday night’s Media Boo Camp were led offstage. Where everyone then became that much more appealing once they’d peeled off their fake boils & scabs.

Monster Boo Camp at Universal Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

So how did Denise enjoy her brief stint as a USF scare-actor? Ms. Preskitt came away from Media Boo Camp with a new appreciation of what the performers who work at Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped From the Screen must go through. The challenge of dealing with huge crowds like that, keeping your energy level high enough so that you can then deliver a quality performance night after night.

By the way, if you’d like to see even more shots of Denise as she underwent her transformation, you should probably drop by MouseSteps.com. Better yet, come on by jefflangedvd.com and view some of the video that I took of Ms. Preskitt frightening USF visitors who made the mistake of wandering through that “Containment” scare zone.

Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped From the Screen continues at the Universal Orlando Resort. On select nights now through October 31st, Universal Studios Florida becomes home to 8 haunted houses, 6 scare zones and 2 stage shows. For further information on this seasonal event, please click on this link.

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